Pulmonary Embolism

Working closely with your care team is important.

JoAnne M. Foody, MD, FACC, CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief
Learn about Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot in the lung. It happens when a clot that forms in another part of the body, usually the legs (see deep vein thrombosis), breaks away and travels through the veins to the lung. If the clot lodges in one or more of the arteries in the lung, it very suddenly blocks your blood flow. When this happens you may notice an unusual shortness of breath, have chest pain when breathing or begin coughing up blood.

Not everyone has symptoms, however. Many healthy people can develop a pulmonary embolism. Unfortunately, once you’ve had it, you’re also more likely to have the condition again. So it’s important to learn all you can, including the signs or symptoms of deep vein thrombosis.

If you think you have a pulmonary embolism, contact your doctor right away. It’s usually treated in the hospital. Your doctor might prescribe medication that thins your blood, helping to break up the clot and prevent new ones from forming. You may need to stay on this medication for a period of time. Be sure to talk with your doctor about the risk of bleeding, as well as other things you can do to lower the chances you’ll have another clot in your lung.

Use this condition center to learn more about pulmonary embolism, create a list of questions to ask your health care provider, and much more.

Pulmonary Embolism News & Events

Does It Cost More to Eat Healthy?

Sep 17, 2013
Increased food costs discourage adults from adhering to blood pressure-lowering diet, according to a recent study.

Innovative Anti-Smoking Campaign a Success

Sep 11, 2013
First federally funded anti-smoking campaign helps smokers quit with tips from former smokers.

E-Cigarettes: Helping Smokers Quit?

Sep 10, 2013
Study finds e-cigarettes are more effective than patches in helping smokers kick the habit for good.
CardioSmart News

New Blood Thinner Safer than Standard Treatment

Sep 09, 2013
Study finds that new blood thinner, edoxaban, is just as effective and carries less bleeding risk than the standard treatment of warfarin.

Coca-Cola Family Track Walk in Chicago

Sep 04, 2013
Members of the American College of Cardiology's CardioSmart team will be at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 15 to share tips on heart health and the benefits of an active lifestyle.

Medication Adherence Lowers Heart Disease Risk

Aug 12, 2013
Taking heart medications properly greatly reduces risk for complications and death, study finds.

Caloric Intake of Obese Children is Underestimated

Aug 12, 2013
Study uses model to show obese children consume significantly more calories each day than healthy children.

Study Highlights Need For More AEDs

Aug 09, 2013
Availability of life-saving devices must be widespread in public places.

Echocardiograms Unnecessary for the General Population

Jul 30, 2013
Study finds that a useful heart test has negligible benefit for healthy patients without a family history of heart disease.

Small Restaurants Have Calorie-Packed Items, Too

Jul 30, 2013
Meals from non-chain or small-chain restaurants typically have higher calorie content than their fast-food peers.

Sodium Levels Remain High in Popular Foods

Jul 30, 2013
Study finds little progress in reducing sodium levels of common processed and restaurant foods since 2005.

Noisy Airports May Impact Heart Health of Nearby Residents

Jul 23, 2013
Study shows noise from planes may disrupt sleep, worsening cardiovascular health.

Experts Recognize Obesity as a Disease

Jul 22, 2013
The American Medical Association joins health organizations in acknowledging obesity as a disease, deserving of proper treatment and prevention.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Directly Linked to Risk for Sudden Cardiac Death

Jun 11, 2013
A common sleep disorder may significantly increase risk of sudden cardiac death.

Vegetarians May Live Longer Than Meat Eaters

Jun 05, 2013
New research confirms that vegetarian dietary patterns can extend longevity.

Mediterranean Diet Could Prevent Memory Loss

Jun 05, 2013
In addition to being heart-healthy, the Mediterranean diet may also help protect our minds.

Novel Ads Encourage Smokers to Ask Their Doctors About Quitting

Jun 05, 2013
A new national campaign aiming to curb smoking rates features real stories from former smokers.

Magnets in iPad 2 May Interfere with Heart Devices

May 28, 2013
A study conducted by a 14-year-old student finds that the iPad 2 interferes with implantable cardioverter defibrillators.

Poor Diet Negatively Impacts Sleep Patterns in Middle-School Children

May 23, 2013
Among children, a link found between diet and sleep may be the key to promoting better heart health as adults.

Smokeless Tobacco Trends in Adolescents

May 16, 2013
Smokeless tobacco use remains unchanged between 2000 and 2011 among middle and high school students.

Pets May Boost Heart Health

May 15, 2013
After a comprehensive review of existing research, experts acknowledge an association between pet ownership and reduced cardiovascular risk.

Understanding the Tobacco Control Act

May 02, 2013

A review of the law that helps protect the public against health problems caused by tobacco use.

Clinical Trials Shed Light on Minority Health

Clinical Trials Shed Light on Minority Health

Apr 26, 2013
Increasing minority participation in clinical trials can help ensure effectiveness and safety of drugs and devices for all Americans.

Binge Drinking Harms the Heart

Apr 23, 2013
A study highlights the negative impact that excessive drinking can have on the heart—even in young, healthy individuals.

Save Money with These Prescription Drug Secrets

Apr 16, 2013

Following these tips and shopping around could help you save $100 or more a month depending on the drug.

Get CardioSmart

You're Invited